In order to help them develop properly and to cultivate the right eating habits, children need to learn the importance of nutrition right from an early age. This will help them adapt the right lifestyle and follow balanced eating habits as they grow up. Children are quite prone to getting addicted to chips and cookies, and this can create negative impacts as they grow up, resulting in belly fat, improper bone development, weak core, and so on. Children are quite immature to understand why parents insist on nutrition and a balanced diet with emphasis on fruits and vegetables. It’s the parents’ responsibility to make the children understand the “why” behind it. Here are a few simple ways that can help:
One of the most effective ways to educate children about the importance of nutrition is through books. Usborne books, “Why Should I Not Eat Junk Food?” and “What Happens to the Food in My Body” are a couple of very good books that help stress the importance of nutrition to children. The books can be used to educate children about the negative effects of preservatives so that they get used to the habit of picking the least packaged items over processed and packaged items. A good reading into these areas would also help them understand terms like high fructose corn syrup, fat content, and sugar. This can help them to make healthier food choices in the future.
One of the most effective ways to educate children about the importance of nutrition is to engage them in the actual process. For instance, you could take them along shopping for your groceries. Show and brief them on different products available, ranging from the different types of vegetables, fruits, and other healthy options. Of course, they may not be as interested in fruits and vegetables as they would be in candies and toffees; nevertheless, the process can ignite their curiosity and prompt them to explore food and nutrition more.
Playing with food in funny ways — just like playing with anything else — can help children learn quicker and easier than using the conventional methods of explaining and rationalizing the differences between the pros and cons of different types of foods. A simple demonstration by using whole grain dark pasta to illustrate hair while using a lighter regular pasta to imitate a face would be fun for them. Another effective exercise you can try is making a collage of different colors of lentils and pulses and to see how the kids enjoy the touch and feel activity.